Proposal:Foundation manages Board elections

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation


In 2009, the election for the three available Board of Trustees seats was fouled in a couple of respects. The "Wikivoices" project undertook to interview many of the Board candidates via a private Skypecast, which lasted about two hours. The intention was to publicly post an edited audio copy of this session. However, the recording of this session is still in question and it is being deliberately withheld from publication.


The paid Foundation Staff should take primary responsibility for the Board election process, including the vote gathering and authentication process, as well as any voter communications efforts such as the one Wikivoices attempted but ultimately failed on. That is to say, the ultimate responsibility for the Board election process should be handled by paid professionals, rather than unreliable volunteers. Volunteers may still perform a good portion of the grunt work, but it should be carefully supervised by paid managers from the WMF Staff.


The Board is comprised mostly of individuals who have no professional experience in education or publication, and this bias may be reinforced by the non-professional responsibility for the election process.

Key Questions

Potential Costs

  • Probably three staff members would need to spend 5 hours per week, each, for the 6-8 weeks of the Board election season. Thus, at least 100 hours of staff labor is required, which may equate to capital costs of $3,000 to $4,500.
  • The WMF overseeing elections presents a conflict of interest, as the Board is an organization that should supposedly act autonomous from the WMF's desires. The board acts as a sort of check and balance through this autonomy. By giving the board the (albeit forbidden) capacity to influence the election and the board's autonomy, the check and balance is compromised. The situation proposed here might be akin to a drug company's executives exclusively managing the peer-review process for all medical publications.


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